Correction: A previous version of this article failed to specify that the deal concerns Freestyle Libre Pro, rather than the consumer version, Freestyle Libre.
Livongo Health, the digital chronic disease management company founded by former Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman, announced today that it will be the first United States enterprise diabetes management company to bring Abbott’s Freestyle Libre Pro continuous glucose monitoring patch to its customers. This marks the first time Livongo has incorporated a CGM of any kind, as opposed to fingerprick glucometers.
“We will be the first diabetes company that will be integrating information from [the Freestyle Libre] CGM into our overall experience. So that’s pretty exciting news,” Tullman told MobiHealthNews. “Now I want to be careful because large payers aren’t going to give everyone the patch overnight and it’s not going to work for everybody, but for a bunch of people who have it, this is a big breakthrough. And Livongo is going to once again lead the way in being the first to use that information, 24 by seven, to understand not only what’s happening in someone’s body, but also be there to support them to give them better information to allow them to stay healthier.”
Abbott's Freestyle Libre fully disposable system, which was cleared by the FDA two years ago, consists of a tiny insertable sensor and a patch about the size of a quarter worn on the arm for up to 14 days. The patch records glucose data every 15 minutes. In the consumer version of the product, using a special reader, the wearer can scan the patch with NFC technology, checking their glucose painlessly as often as they want. For the pro version, users will have to visit their doctor to get scanned. In addition to the current reading, a scan gives eight hours of historical data and trend information.
"At Abbott, we are revolutionizing glucose monitoring with technology that provides insightful, actionable information that allows people to make more informed decisions about their health,” Jared Watkin, senior vice president, Diabetes Care at Abbott, said in a statement. “By integrating our expertise with Livongo’s approach to chronic-condition management, we are further empowering people with diabetes to live healthier lives.”
Livongo offers a convenience and technology play for diabetes management, allowing users to avoid the hassle of ordering and paying for test strips, to keep all of their blood sugar tracking data in one place, and to get realtime insights and suggestions based on that data. For instance, Tullman said, Livongo might tell someone with slightly elevated blood sugar to drink three glasses of water and walk around the office for 10 minutes, which could lead to an immediate improvement.
“Incorporating glucose data from the FreeStyle Libre Pro will enhance the Livongo member experience by providing personalized insights to influence behavior,” Dr. Jennifer Schneider, chief medical officer at Livongo, said in a statement. “Teaming up with Abbott supports our efforts to leverage valuable data across the healthcare ecosystem, so that our members receive the right information, tools and support when they need it most.”
Livongo announced the news today at TechCrunch Disrupt. The company plans to announce additional news around its hypertension product at the Health 2.0 Annual Fall Conference in two weeks.